PMID: 8397231Oct 1, 1993

The development of positive inotropic agents for chronic heart failure: how have we gone astray?

Journal of the American College of Cardiology
M Packer

Abstract

Because cardiac contractility is impaired in chronic heart failure, many pharmacologic agents have been developed to increase the contractile state of the failing heart. These drugs produce impressive hemodynamic effects, but long-term therapy has failed to produce clinical benefits and has increased mortality in treated patients. This experience has led many physicians to suggest that positive inotropic therapy be abandoned as a therapeutic approach for heart failure. However, recent studies suggest that the efficacy and safety of many (if not all) positive inotropic drugs can be greatly enhanced by reducing the dose of these drugs. The importance of dose is dramatically illustrated by the results of trials with vesnarinone, which decreases mortality when used in low doses but increases mortality when administered in doses only twice as large. Although low doses of positive inotropic drugs may be clinically superior to high doses, it is not clear that these low doses exert significant inotropic effects. All positive inotropic drugs exert actions on the circulation in addition to stimulating the heart, and these ancillary properties may be particularly important at low doses of these drugs. Low doses of milrinone and pimobendan...Continue Reading

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Related Concepts

Chronic Heart Failure
Exertion
Peripheral Blood Vessels
Pimobendan
Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
Digitalis preparation
Adverse Effects
Inotropic agent
Digitalis Glycosides
Milrinone

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